“Be Like THIS Mike too”

Michael "Mike" Vick, QB Philadelphia Eagles

Many a man has finally succeeded only because

he has failed after repeated efforts.

If he had never met defeat

he would never have known any great victory.

~ Orison Swett Marden

Thoughts from Coach O:

First of all; YES… I am on a Orison Swett Marden flow these last few days. The man was a great thinker. Check out more of his quotes here.

When I saw this Marden quote, I thought of Michael (Mike) Vick. He’s made an amazing comeback in his career & life! What a incredible journey the last three years of his life have been!! Yet, last week he was named to the NFL Pro Bowl and has been named one of the “Top Ten Comeback Stories of 2010” by Time Magazine! There is also another article in Time called, “From Prison to the Pro Bowl, the meaning of Mike Vick.” (click here to read)

What can WE learn from the Mike Vick story?

  1. Surround yourself with great people: several of the men that were involved in the Vick dog fighting scandal, were long-time friends from his past. When he moved to the next level (the NFL), he chose to bring them with him. Who you allow close to you affects your decisions & destiny. As Oprah Winfrey says, “Surround yourself with people that will lift you up.” When you are surrounded (inner circle) by people that “lift you up”, they influence you to stay on the “success grind” — because everyone around you desires to be GREAT!
  2. Find a mentor: What is interesting in the Vick case, the mentor found him! Former NFL head coach, Tong Dungy, went to visit Mike in prison (April ’09) and became his mentor. He became the missing accountability factor so needed in Vick’s life!  Once you allow someone to mentor you, you give them permission to “speak into your life.” There are not too many mentors better than Tony Dungy!
  3. Believe in yourself: I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be Vick and experience all the negative things said about him —  from the Atlanta Falcons to animal rights groups. That constant onslaught of negativity would have thrown most people way off course. But Vick believed in himself! He showed an uncanny determination to overcome adversity (failure & defeat) and now experiences “great victory”. Sugar Ray Robinson is quoted, “To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.”

Now I know there are some that may never forgive his crimes, but that is not what I am addressing today… I am recognizing his ability to overcome this incredible adversity and get back on the road to success. I daresay, many would not have been so committed to do the things necessary to change… It will be a process for Vick, but I believe he has the right “tools” in his life to make it all the way back! I pray he has the strength & focus to stay on the “path.” Congratulations, Mike, for what you have accomplished so far!!

I end with a quote from MY mentor, Dr. AR Bernard, “Change is not an event; it is a process.”

“Be Like THIS Mike too & overcome the adversity in YOUR life!”

March Madness Inspires Me

It never ceases to amaze me that besides all of the great basketball  drama; BUSTED brackets (especially this year on the men’s side), and upsets galore — there are always incredible stories of coaches and players that overcame adversity in their lives. These stories include tragedy, sickness, disappointments, and setbacks; but, the common thread is that through it all, these teams or individuals persevered!!   

Let’s take a closer look at this year’s tournament: 

  • University of Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball: In January, 2010: 4 Tennessee men’s basketball players were arrested during a

    Bruce Pearl, Tennessee head basketball coach

    traffic stop for speeding near Tennessee’s campus. They were later charged with numerous misdeamor counts including possession of marijuana and illegal possession of a firearm. Head coach, Bruce Pearl, suspends these players (sending a strong message) and plays several weeks with 7 only players!! At the time, the “Vols” were 10-2 and ranked 14th in the country. In spite of this adversity, Coach Pearl continues coaching, motivating, utilizing the team he HAS in front of him and they end up reaching the Elite 8 and losing to Michigan State in a one point thriller, 70-69.


  •   Coach Frank Martin, now head coach of Kansas State’s men’s basketball team, was a newly hired assistant coach under Bob Huggins, at Kansas State, in March of 2006. While on the recruiting trail Frank Martin began to feel sick and he took some Advil, drank some water 

Frank Martin

and thought he could “sweat it out.” Before long, his temperature rose and he was shaking uncontrollably. Another assistant coach checked on him in his hotel room, saw his condition and Martin was rushed to the hospital, where his temperature soon rose to 105. Frank Martin was told he had pancreatic cancer, which has a survival rate of 4%. Devastated, he called his wife who had returned to their home in Cincinnati, of the news. Later the doctors returned with a prognosis of pancreatitis, and not cancer and that he would be ok. Pancreatitis has two high triggers of alcohol and high-fat foods and so through discipline and determination he has it under control. This year as head coach of Kansas State’s men’s basketball, he led them to the winningest season in Kansas State basketball history (29-3) and a birth in the Elite 8!!

  • Finally, Tiffanie Shives, a 5-10, junior guard for Gonzaga University, was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 10 years old. Tiffanie overcomes adversity on a daily basis with the need to constantly check her blood sugar, take medication, monitor her diet; IN ADDITION

    Tiffanie Shives, Gonzaga point guard

    to being an outstanding student/athlete on one the most improved women’s basketball programs in the country! On top of the diabetic condition, Tiffanie also overcame a season-ending knee injury that caused her to sit out the ‘Zags, 1st win in the NCAA’s last year. Talk about overcoming adversity!!


These are just a few of the many incredible stories from this year’s tournament alone. I have been collecting stories like this for several years because they have inspired me! When I hear of these stories — it always reminds me of my favorite quote, Adversity causes some men to break; and others to BREAK records” – William A Ward.  How do you respond to adversity? Do you hide in a closet and lament “woe is me?” or “WHY me?” Or do you, like Bruce Pearl, Frank Martin, Tiffanie Shives, use that adversity to motivate you to persevere and WIN??!!! These people show me what’s important:  

It’s not about what happens to you; but what you DO about what happens to you” – AR Bernard  

“March Madness Inspires Me” — to overcome “Life’s Challenges” 

Procrastination: A Big Reason We Don’t Accomplish Our Goals


Dr. AR Bernard, pastor, Christian Cultural Center (CCC)

On New Year’s Eve, my post came from Brian Tracy’s blog that laid out a 7-Step process for setting goals for our year. I have been studying this process as I also apply it to my life and still had a questionEven with all this great advice from Brian Tracy and others; why is it that I (we) don’t always accomplish my (our) goals?

Well, I don’t know about YOU, but a big reason for me is the dreaded word: PROCRASTINATION!!  (Dum dee dum dum music :)) Just typing the word makes me “shudder” because it is a big obstacle for me.

So, my family and I go to New Year’s Eve service at our church, Christian Cultural Center (CCC), in Brooklyn, NY, and guess what my pastor, Dr. AR Bernard, is speaking about? You guessed it: procrastination! We are blessed to have a pastor that gives us tools to live successful lives and make a difference in our culture & society!

So, I am going to share an excerpt from my notes on his teaching (he teaches more than he preaches) on “Why People Procrasinate.” He was also encouraging us to set goals and objectives for 2010 (I will blog more on that later), but also acknowledged this huge potential hurdle and how to handle it. I hope it helps you as you pursue your dreams, goals, and objectives:

Reasons People Procrastinate:

1. Fear.

  • People put things off because of fear of change.
  • To do it you have to change: your attitude or self awareness and to avoid that they will put it off.
  • Fear of criticism. Afraid of disappointing people and they put off confrontation or having to deal with their own character flaws. Or what they have presented themselves to be and people will not see that what they are is really different.
  • Fear of failure so they would rather not do it.
  • Fear of inadequacy. Feeling that they don’t measure up to the task. Someone will notice that they are inadequate to handle this task..
  • Fear of making mistakes. Rejection, or starting something else you know you won’t finish. The task may be something new and take you out of comfort zone

2. Feeling overwhelmed.

  • When you are buried underneath things you fall under the “spell” of putting things off because you have so much to do!

3. Indecisiveness.

  • Lacking the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively

4. Lack of a deadline.

  • Deadlines are important because they are guidelines and spur action.

5. Over commitment.

  • “Don’t let your mouth burden your back.” (Great quote)
  • Learn how to use “yes” and “no” effectively

6. Resentment.

  • Disappointed in what you have been given to do.
  • “I don’t wanna to do that!” (waaa waaa!)  
  • We resent that it is part of our job.
  • During this time, you even go through a whole mode where you think you are being treated unfairly

7. Unclear goals.

  • Goals are like magnets. The clearer the goals the stronger the pull to accomplish them.

8. Unpleasant or boring task.

  • You will find every excuse for doing it later
  • Many times we have to do what we have to do, before we can do what we want to do! – Zig Ziglar (para-phrased)

9. Distraction. (THIS IS HUGE!) 

  • Distractions allow you to do something more pleasurable to you instead of doing what you don’t like.
  • Distractions will also make this “diversion” seem more important that accomplishing your true goals & objectives.
  •  When you put off something and become distracted it reduces the anxiety for not doing the thing you are putting off.
  • But this is only temporary and you still have to come back and face the thing being put off.


  1. Procrastination is a symptom of some area of stress in your life.
  • You will not stop procrastinating until you know why you are putting it off. What the stress is…..?
  • It is time for us to change what we do to accomplish our goals and objectives
  • We have to put off all the excuses and confront whatever is giving you the stress.
  • Stop talking about the inadequacies and all other excuses, and face it straight on and deal with it so God can bless you and take where he wants to take you in life!!!!
  • In 2010 leave that thing or person (that is holding you back) tonight and walk away and don’t look back.
  • You have to deal with the area of stress and anxiety in your life that is robbing you of your future.
  •  Don’t be robbed
  • So many things have happened in our lives and we feel “beaten down and discouraged”
  • Don’t allow yourself to feel so beaten down that you forget what God has said that he would do for you in your life.


Wow, huh? I was inspired too! I am still digesting this teaching and intentionally implementing it in my life!

  • Do you know the definition of insanity? “Doing things the same way and expecting different result!”
  • There are things that did not work for me last year & I am ready to stop “acting insane!.”  I am going to change my methods in certain areas but staying committed to my goals.

I AM READY TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL 2010 – HOW ABOUT YOU?? JOIN ME & visit “Mindset of A Leader” often!!

Throwing Interceptions In The Game Of Life

Steve Young

Steve Young, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers who led his team to a Super Bowl victory in 1995, said the following in his foreword to Gordon B. Hinckley’s book, “Way To Be”:

“From my experience, life is alot like football. I can tell you from painful experience that throwing an interception on Monday Night Football with 80,000 fans screaming at you in the stadium and millions more watching on television is embarrassing and depressing.

The boos from the crowd ring in your ears. Your teammates look at you as if you had stolen their lunch. At those moments, you just want to dig a hole and disappear.”

Rich Gannon, the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders who led his team to Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, set an NFL record for pass completions (418) and was voted the league’s MVP, can empathize with Steve’s sentiments.

During the 16 regular season games, Gannon only threw a total of 10 interceptions. However, in the Super Bowl- the most important game of the year he threw 5 touchdowns, which resulted in 3 touchdowns and a field goal (a total of 24 pts) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When considering the final score of the game, Tampa Bay-48 Oakland-21, the 24 points off interceptions was most likely the difference between winning and losing.

 Many times in the game of life, no matter how prepared we are,  we throw interceptions that set us back or even cause temporary defeat in our quest for success and prosperity. You may ask, how can this happen?

 Steve Young shares his point of view on this question: “Often we face situations in which it feels as though we are throwing blind – we must make decisions without knowing exactly what the consequences can be.”

 “In Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill said this about defeat: “No follower of this philosophy can reasonably expect to accumulate a fortune without experiencing temporary defeat.”

 Defeat, refines our character and develops a greater depth of knowledge, experience, confidence, and an awareness of our dependence on Infinite Intelligence. Our response to throwing an interception in the game of life is the key to ultimate victory or defeat. This is very apparent during the Super Bowl.

After Rich Gannon’s first interception, which led to a Buccaneer touchdown, the countenance of the Raiders’ players changed and they began to look defeated. And even though two touchdowns in the 3rd quarter sparked the Raiders to life, another Buccaneer interception in the fourth quarter quickly extinguished this spark.

As Steve Young says, “if we are going to play the game of life we can assume that we’re going to throw a few interceptions or make a few mistakes from time to time.” The following five steps will help you deal positively with an interception or temporary defeat:

1. Keep your focus on your goal and purpose for playing the game: In your mind continue to see the successful completion of your goal.

2. Have a good friend/associate be your coach and mentor to encourage you, pick you up when you make mistakes, and reinforce the fundamentals that you’ve learned from winning!

3. Have a reliable support system to track your results and encourage you through discouragement and defeat.

4. Surround yourself with those who believe in your dream as much as you do.

5. Never be prepared to accept losing the game (your dream) even when momentary defeat overtakes you – losing a battle is different from losing the war.

 Will it be easy to succeed? This all depends on the magnitude of your purpose and goal(s) – the greater the magnitude, the greater the number of challenges, obstacles, and demands on your talents that you will have to overcome.

 Great rewards come with great challenges. The choice is up to each of us: either the safety and security of aiming low, or we develop the fundamentals for success and then shoot for the stars, accepting the challenges and temporary defeats along the way.

 Helen Keller, the epitome of one who, with the right frame of mind, overcame severe challenges and defeats, said: ‘Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.”

Ultimately “It’s not what happens to you; it’s what you DO about what happens to you” — AR Bernard — so, what’s it gonna be the next time you throw an “interception in the game of life”? Will you let it make you into a “defeated Raider of 2003”, or will you choose to “never be prepared to accept losing the game (your dream) even when momentary defeat overtakes you” and keep playing?”

As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”